Wednesday

5th Aug 2020

TTIP investor court illegal, say German judges

  • EU trade commissioner Malmstrom will hold the next round of talks in Brussels on 22 February (Photo: European Commission)

German judges dealt a blow to EU-US free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal.

The European Commission last September proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions as part of its larger Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace a much loathed investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights and environmental standards in favour of corporate interest.

Earlier this week, the German Association of Magistrates, a Berlin-based judicial umbrella organisation, said it "sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court".

It says existing national courts are good enough and that efforts by the Commission to create a new court undermines jurisdictions across the Union.

"The German Magistrates Association sees no need for the establishment of a special court for investors," it states.

It says the new investor court would alter national court systems "and deprive courts of member states of their power."

The German magistrates also cast doubt on the independence of the judges in the new system as well as their appointment procedures.

Proponents, for their part, say the investment tribunal court is needed to both protect and attract foreign investment from potentially hostile governments or biased domestic courts.

'Democratic principles and public scrutiny'

The European Commission declined to comment but instead referred back to its previous stated positions.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, who is heading the TTIP talks, last year said the new court would be "subject to democratic principles and public scrutiny".

The centre-right European People's Party and the centre-left Socialists & Democrats groups in the European Parliament spearheaded the new investor court last summer and backed the commission's proposal. Others, like the Greens, opposed the plan, noting businesses should not be allowed to file cases in private courts outside current legal systems.

The TTIP talks, which have been largely held in secret since 2013, aim to remove non-tariff barriers to trade.

The 12th round of talks will be held in Brussels on 22 February.

"We will only know closer to the date what topics will be discussed," said a commission spokesperson.

Top EU officials urge MEPs give quick budget-deal approval

MEPs criticised the EU deal on the budget and recovery package clinched by leaders after five days of gruelling talks, saying it is not enough "future-oriented", and cuts too deeply into EU policies, including health, innovation, defence and humanitarian aid

EU Parliament gears up for fight on budget deal

European parliament president David Sassoli said certain corrections will have to be made in the budget, citing research and the Erasmus program for students, calling the cuts "unjustified".

EU leaders agree corona recovery after epic summit

After gruelling five-day talks, EU leaders agreed on €390bn in grants and €360bn in low-interest loans to hardest-hit member states - after much opposition from the Dutch-led 'frugal' bloc of countries.

News in Brief

  1. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion
  2. Next US envoy to Germany outed on xenophobia
  3. Belgium sees spike in coronavirus infections
  4. Doctors: virus second wave arrives in Germany
  5. Lukashenko: Russia planned 'massacre' in Minsk
  6. Nearly half of Germans happy to see US soldiers go
  7. Poland hails 'crowning glory' of US troop relocation
  8. Germany sends troops to enforce Libya arms embargo

EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row

The economies of France, Italy and Spain will contract more then 10-percent this year, according to the latest forecast by the EU executive, as it urges member state governments to strike a deal on the budget and recovery package.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  2. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post
  3. Polish party roars back at EU on LGBTI fines
  4. EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy
  5. Why hydrogen is no magic solution for EU Green Deal
  6. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says
  7. France wants rule-of-law sanctions on recovery budget
  8. The three 'Elephants in the Room' in EU-India relations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us